VIDEO – Nandita Lovage of Slow Burn Film Productions (slowburnfilmproductions.com) has directed and produced a film depicting the work we have been doing in response to Covid-19 in London:
AMURT UK has been feeding homeless people in Holborn since 2011. We receive food donations from organisations who rescue food from going to waste and our teams of dedicated volunteers spend the day chopping, stirring and seasoning. Come rain or shine the food is then taken to the site and is served by our smiling volunteers.
The covid-19 crisis makes things even worse for homeless people. Many have compromised immune systems, poor nutrition, and hygiene and are more susceptible to environmental toxins and to developing complications. It’s very difficult for them to maintain hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation measures in place as they have limited places to go. Many have also lost the little income they receive from begging and the Big Issue and there is more competition for food.
Since the beginning of the covid-19 crisis we have tripled the number of volunteers we work with. This has enabled us to quadruple the number of vulnerable people we reach on a weekly basis by expanding hot meal production and distribution to homeless and vulnerable communities in Hackney and Islington and producing and distributing Nutritional Support Packs (NSPs – highly nutrient/protein dense snacks) to boost the nutrition and immune support of those affected by food poverty.
We currently produce between 170-200 hot meals a week which are distributed through our own services in Holborn, Islington and Hackney or those of our partners Streets Kitchen and Greenhouse Surgery who serve Hackney homeless. We produce and distribute approximately 1000 NSPs per week to approximately 250 clients either through our own distributions or those of our partners such as North London Action for the Homeless, Made in Hackney, NHS Hackney and Streets Kitchen.
Our clients are relieved we are still running and that they are guaranteed a warm nutritious meal. We are finding that it is often the only warm, cooked meal they’ve received for days at the moment.
We have 40+ active volunteers at any one time and around 150 per year. Due to quarantine and lockdowns restrictions, financial instability, fear and uncertainty, 94% of volunteers enrolled over the last 12 months have experienced challenges to their mental health/wellbeing: disconnection from family and friends, feelings of helplessness, isolation, grief, anxiety, depression and excess stress.
By volunteering for AMURT, volunteers benefit from healthy social interaction and a structure to their week, reaping many psychosocial benefits: community integration, sense of purpose and improved self-esteem. They are able to access meaningful, well-defined volunteering opportunities, training and a local support network, enhancing their employability with new skills and experience.
Volunteer for AMURT UK ‘Working with AMURT has definitely helped me a lot! I suffer quite badly from anxiety, which has been particularly difficult to manage during the pandemic. However, I always feel really good returning from working alongside such lovely and kind people every Thursday! Getting out of the house and the interactions with the AMURT community have really kept me going these last months, so thank you.’
Michael: “For people in our situation this meal can be the difference between to be or not to be – especially when it’s cold.”
Vernom: “I’ve come to the feeding ever since it started. The food is excellent and the people very nice. Many of us walk here from a long way away so it’s important that they can always be here.”
Lennard: “The food is very good and nutritious. If it’s possible I wish they could come every day. Thankyou and keep up the good work.”
Thomas: “I have no money and can’t find a job. For me right now the most important thing is to be able to eat. I feel secure knowing that they’re going to be here each week. When I get a back on my feet with a job I’d like to help the group to say thankyou.”
Sham: “This service is essential for people like me who have fallen on rough times. A lot of us here have had homes and jobs but have lost them due to circumstances. This provision is vital till we pick ourselves up.”
Volunteering and donations
The success of our feeding programme relies on dedicated volunteers and individual donors.
Please click here if you would like to find out more about volunteering for this project.
Please click here if you would like to donate a one off amount or a regular donation to enable our feeding programme to continue to feed the homeless and touch lives.